Summary: discipleship for a new age
Go in through the narrow gate,
the gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow.
A lot of people go through that gate.
But the gate to life is very narrow.
The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it.
Matthew 7 : 13-14.
The New Year is a time with a lot of traditions and superstitions associated with it.
In Scotland it is a time where you sit around with family and friends and sing Auld Lang Syne.
In England there is the tradition of the first foot.
Where in New Zealand for some the New Year begins with the race to see the first sun rise.
But apart from all these traditions New Year is also a time to reflect.
A time where we look at the past year and reflect upon our victories with a sense of gladness
and upon our failures with a sense of melancholy and sadness,
but it is a time to reflect.
The scripture we have read this morning also speaks of reflection.
It calls us as the hearers to reflect upon where we are in our journey with Christ,
but more than this it asks us to decide where we will go in the New Year with this same Christ.
The text itself comes from the section in Matthew called the Sermon on the Mount,
so in order to set the scene a little we will back track a few Chapters in Matthew’s gospel.
If you can try to imagine we are going back a few hours earlier.
To chapter 4 of Matthew to be exact
Jesus is walking the streets of Galilee Jesus is declaring the Good News,
the Good News that the Kingdom of God is here.
There is a problem though because so far this New Kingdom has only one citizen
and that is Jesus himself.
So Jesus is looking for people.
Looking for a certain type of people.
Jesus is shouting out the Good News
the Kingdom of God is near.
But more than that he is actually proving it too.
Every where he walks he gives people a foretaste of this New Kingdom,
just to show that his message is not all hot air he heals people,
the lame walk and the blind see.
Naturally people are drawn to Jesus,
but he caries on searching,
because Jesus is looking for a special type of person, not just people who gets impressed by a few miraculous healings,
but for people who are truly special.
The people Jesus is looking for are people who get frustrated with the 9 to 5 of life.
He’s looking for people who like to travel.
Jesus is looking for People who know there is more to life than meets the eye.
You might say Jesus is looking for people with potential.
Potential to be migrants to this New Kingdom,
People who are willing to make the move out of the
9 to 5 world
and to become citizens.
Jesus has a name for these potential migrants
these kingdom citizens
- Disciples he calls them.>
In and around the streets of Galilee he finds them
and at work
and like the Pied Piper of Galilee,
Jesus leads them up the hill to teach them about how to apply for this Kingdom citizenship.
-The People that followed this pied piper of Galilee that day are a bit like we are.
People who are willing to take part in the Journey
- and so Jesus is calling us to take our seats around him,
He’s calling us to look again at what it means to be Citizen of this new kingdom
Now the Kingdom of God’s a funny place -
when Jesus sits down to tell us all about emigrating to this Kingdom -
-he doesn’t once tell us what shot’s we need
or the state of the education system in this Kingdom.
Infact He doesn’t even tell us about the Visa requirements.
or the point system for acceptance in this immigration scheme.
It seems the only visa requirement that is necessary is His Grace
so there aren’t even any forms to fill in
no health checks or blood samples to give
we don’t even have to queue for hours to get a visa stamp.
Because almost everything has been taken care of we need just two things.
Obedience to the words
- and a willingness to live as a citizen of this Kingdom.
Instead of all the paper work
Jesus sits there on the side of the mountain and tell us about the social customs of this kingdom.
The first thing he tells us is that we are a blessed people.
We are blessed because we are poor in spirit he says. We are blessed because we mourn.